Friday, 23 May 2008



It seemed like a long time from when I first heard this song as part of Nirvana’s Reading 92 headline set until it was finally released as a single in what seemed like pointless fashion. I guess the time was nearing Christmas and DGC had to squeeze a few more bucks out of the band some way. It never even had a music video though, such felt the irrelevance of putting this song out as a single.

Late 1993 was a dicey time for me. Somehow I had wound up in a weird youth training college where I appeared to be the token grunger while a large portion of the college was made up of trainee bricklayers and labourers. Just how much training do unskilled workers require?

“All Apologies” is a sweet song. I first heard it as part of the Reading 92 set and guessed that the song had been written about his unborn baby with the repeated references to his son. Strangely when Courtney shat the kid out it was a girl. Whoops. I have to say I always preferred the very first version over this eventual studio version not least as it didn’t have that attention seeking “everyone is gay” line. Oh well. On the subject of attention seeking….

“Rape Me” is not Kurt’s finest moment even if he may have thought so. For a band that had previously been so subtle this now feels overt to the point of cheesy although I am sure at the time I saw things his way even if I was a bit too embarrassed to have my stereo volume up too loud for this song. I think the band’s threat of playing this song at the MTV Awards in 1992 possibly made the intro and opening bars more exciting than the actual song.

Rounding out the release was another controversial track in the form of “MV” which appeared to stand for “moist vagina”. It is a pretty clean song playing on the quiet loud quiet formula which is minimal in content (maybe even unfinished) and then it ends with an extended Cobain growl that is even being looped or was making his face go blue in the process.

All good things but at various stages were bettered.

Thesaurus moment: dilatorily.


Tuesday, 20 May 2008



Since reforming and returning to the Sub Pop fold the output of Mudhoney has served for frustrating stuff. After so many years though this band still has the goods and The Lucky Ones proves to be a genuinely thrilling record, finally the returning release befitting of their legacy.

It doesn’t take long to grab hold as “I’m Now” opens with lines such as “I still see that look in your eye, passing through security waving goodbye” in a manner in which Mark Arm only appears to do. With a thumping fizzy riff from Steve Turner drenching the track in turmoil as the chorus of “the past made no sense, the future looks tense” there is once more a dizzyingly nasty nonchalance to proceedings that doesn’t necessarily appear to be confident for the future. All complete with the nice touch of a doorbell buzzing to reiterate their bleak point.

The album explodes into life with the title track as Turner’s opening chops lead into a still truly incendiary band coming together to sound as if they are playing for their lives (or at the very least their careers). Here is another song with a bleak message (“the lucky ones are lucky they’re not around”) coming from seasoned pros who know what they’re on about.

With “The Open Minds” the band serves up a truly mixed message with the crashing observation that “the open mind is an empty mind, so I keep my mind closed.” Sure it is a baiting exercise, the sort of thing I would say to my left student friends without jobs or careers but big opinions on subjects they do not necessarily hold much of a footing in. Sometimes coming from a left field perspective you just get sick of being so righteous and informed, insistent on doing the correct thing and riding the tow. Sometimes you just have to tear loose and condemn! Not that I really believe Mudhoney have turned into real haters.

From here the record trails off slightly as bluesy numbers and fairly staid rock workouts inhabit the later recesses of proceedings although “Tales Of Terror” does offer up the kind of hard hitting chunky nasty riff that you always hope from Mudhoney as Arm continues to scream his way through proceedings before it takes a breather only to storm back faster and harder after recoiling. It’s a definitive lurch.

Beyond this it all comes to a plundering conclusion as the album fulfils its duty of being a memorable and noteworthy set of songs from a band that has long since fallen out of favour with social butterfly audiences.

Message to most bands out there playing with guitars: this is how your instrument should be sounding.

Thesaurus moment: staunch.

Sub Pop

Saturday, 17 May 2008



Without realising it at the time Babes In Toyland provided a couple of genuinely key moments during my post school transition into supposed adulthood (which these days would probably be referred to as my kidulthood).

Babes In Toyland were the first band that I ever saw live.  The band was supported by Trumans Water and Maniac Squat when they played the number one nightclub in Colchester called The Hippodrome.  And to a lost soul stuck in rural Essex it was a revelation.  I still remember vividly how afterwards outside the venue I was handed a flyer for a DIY mail order t-shirt of Kat Bjelland kicking Axl Rose in the balls.  This was a different world.  And probably explained why there was a lad wearing a yellow dress in the men’s toilet and how with my bad eyesight I almost tried it one with a blonde long hair in a Rollins Band t-shirt that I thought was a girl.

The other key moment was the day a lost/absent school friend came to visit me out of the blue.  Both our school careers had ended in a flounder and we had long since drifted apart.  We were former best friends but now had little in common.  I had no idea what I was doing with my life while after being talked out of joining the army; my friend was now stepping into becoming an apprentice mechanic.  We had nothing in common.  I did however have a snooker table in my bedroom and therein lay the visit’s appeal.  In the end he switched tapes for my dad’s Elton John Best Of.  Later he wound up becoming a financial advisor and me an accountant.  Such is life.

“Bruise Violet” is a very aggressive song.  Arriving on classy violet vinyl barely thirty seconds pass on the seven inch before Bjelland is singing/screaming “fucking bitch well I hope your insides rot”.  This is the sound of two women fighting outside a pub and being that Kat can be heard laughing while Lori’s echo backing sounds like her conscious, you can guess who is winning the fight (if not the war).  I guess that was always the point of Babes In Toyland: empowerment by any means necessary.

The beef was with Courtney Love who Bjelland appeared to believe was stealing her shtick with the whole Kinderwhore look.  And certainly it looked that way in the video as the Bjelland clones blur with the Courtney lookalikes.

Flipping over we get two tracks from Fontanelle in the shape of “Magick Flute” and “Gone”.  The former features Lori taking lead vocals on a drunken and explicit escapade while the latter features the sound of smashing glass and screaming as the band runs riot in the process of passing out.

This is the kind of record that speeds up existence and lends excitement to the day.  I was right and my army loving buddy was wrong.

Thesaurus moment: muliebrity.

Southern Records

Thursday, 15 May 2008



I purchased this CD in Orlando while on holiday there with my family back in 1993.  It was a release that I never envisaged would even exist.  And now here it was in the bargain section with all the other ridiculous long box packages (thank God those never took off in England).

Animal House is a great movie and yet it is a film by rights nobody from the UK should understand.  And that generally has been the response I gleaned from friends over the years when I would offer this to them as a laugh riot.  Unsurprisingly I was into it because of John Belushi.  At a young age I got into him and The Blues Brothers and Saturday Night Live as in my mind the New York I was being offered represented a 24 hour culture that doesn’t actually exist.  At a young age I saw Neighbors first and devoured everything of his that I could find.  I even liked the universally derided Wired.  What was I getting from Belushi?

It is quite impressive how Elmer Bernstein manages to get his name on the cover of this album as once you are into the tracklisting you soon realise, for better or worse, that this record is not exclusively his score.  Instead what’s on offer is a collection of swinging R&B songs from the era book ended by Bernstein’s score/theme.

This is a party record complete with sound clips from the movie making it probably one of the first soundtracks to service such an element.  In addition to this at times the slower tracks coming from an era close to Blue Velvet add a whole different and dark David Lynch type texture.  Here is a collection with layers.  “Hey Paula” by Paul & Paula particular touches this tone.  This is a song you could ironically film a murder/killing/death to.

The album gets good very quickly as the Belushi version of “Louie Louie” arrives in a very good arrangement.  I must admit when I purchased the album/CD it was for this track and The Kingsmen’s version so once open and unveiled as being this version it was both a disappointment and a treasure.  This track was pre-Blues Brothers and you suspect that it was probably his forceful enthusiasm that saw this version of the song appear on the soundtrack rather than The Kingsmen original.  At this stage his voice does yet feel fully formed or established as the rasp Joliet Jake would eventually achieve.  Indeed it sounds quite similar to that of Caleb from Kings Of Leon.  He later chips in with an effective take on “Money” solidifying and justifying his presence on the record which comes pre-empted by the sound of his guitar smashing scene in the movie.  Excellent intro to both the song and the music career that lay ahead.

The other in-house hero of the record is Stephen Bishop who actually orchestrates on a higher level than Bernstein himself.  In constructing the theme song “Animal House” he scores high with a rich shout out to characters onscreen and running the show.  His weird Bee Gee like range (that horrible high pitch voice shit) offers a quite the lyrical antidote to American Graffiti/Grease takes on the time.  And then come samples from the movie at the end.

There is an element of this album that feels like raiding your parents’ record collection but as with such things the fresh association of these songs with this movie and these scenes lends a higher degree of credibility and cooler context.  Benefiting from such treatment/representation is Sam Cooke who appears with “Twistin’ The Night Away” and “(What A) Wonderful World”.  Elsewhere fairing somewhat better is Chris Montez with “Let’s Dance” before hired hand Lloyd Williams pulls his role from the screen and places it on wax with bounding versions of “Shama Lama Ding Dong” and an exhilarating take on “Shout” that drives one of the best scenes in the film.

Silly times, silly shit.  Its obvious why Homer Simpson loves this stuff.

Thesaurus moment: indoctrinate.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008



One of my greatest moments in the name of indie rock was the time I subtly forced the girlfriend of the drummer from Razorlight to listen to Marquee Moon.  At first when I pressed play on the record and “See No Evil” began rolling her response was an enthusiastic “oh great The Futureheads”.  With that her response and expression soon changed as I took her to another place, in a direction unexpected.  And then a few tracks later we reached the centrepiece of the album: the title track.

When Johnny Borrell “wrote” and released “In The Morning” for me it was one of the most disgusting and heinous gestures by a mainstream “indie” band ever soiled onto tape.  Over the course of three or so minutes he performed wholesale robbery of “Marquee Moon” and arrogantly attempted to pass it off as his own.  And yet nobody kicked off or called him up on it.  Maybe it was because he played it so shoddily or maybe it was just that they saw him for the joke and fraud that he was and remains.  Back to the moment though and how I nearly wore my finger out pointing to the stereo each time during the ten minutes of the track that Television invented music that was still being rifled almost thirty years later.  It was a gesture akin to Woody Allen bringing out Marshall McLuhan in Annie Hall.

Marquee Moon was released in February 1977.  By that time Richard Hell had since departed the band but as the act pushed things forward they became the first band of the punk era to solidly play CBGBs and help set up what turned out to be one of the most influential scenes of any period.  Originally coming from other parts of the country, this band was now New York through and through as they rinsed out an urban album that reflected the tough and colourful existence afforded them.  They arrived ten years after the Velvet Underground benefiting from all that had been learned/discovered in their existence.

Television actually sound more post-punk than punk.  Their music is smarter, exhibiting a skill set and patience that their apparent three chord peers did not share.  The eight tracks on this album are measured and cool, a more mature pulse and reflection of movements from the city.

It begins with “See No Evil” and the track my ex-colleague mistook as being The Futureheads.  In a way I do see that, it’s a great and lively song with snap urgency and a satisfying hook.  The build is brilliant and the length lean.  It marks an amazing arrival.

Television was always a band with a big sound.  The intros into songs were impressively grandiose on a sensible level as the arriving vocals of Tom Verlaine snappily cut through proceedings as the surrounding music rolls out in textured fashion often meandering in unexpected directions.  That was reason why songs became so extended.

Perhaps the most masterful display of musicianship on the album is the entry into “Friction” and the descending sound of the guitar, a noise that had never been heard before.  Here is Marquee Moon’s exotic landing.  And yet dare I suggest it not that difficult to perform, what was the test/difficulty was tapping into the mindset and space to try such a thing.  Then on top of such a standout moment there was still room within the song to include a strong and smart hook/chorus.  As the song then enters its free space you witness a wonderful hybrid and mid point between Talking Heads and Sonic Youth.  This is playing a person can easily lose their shit too.

In the title track the band has one of the greatest achievements in rock music.  “Marquee Moon” is the most compact ten minute song in the history of modern music.  This song feels like a late night nocturnal journey around the slums of New York, revealing the miniscule riches that can be found and are on offer.  The glowing repetition of the duelling guitars is a defining pulse was the song powers to its eventual pay off.  This was the reinvention of rock complete with resolution and morning sun like conclusion/completion.  With listening comes maturity.  Lost becomes found.

As the record continues on the second side it exhibits itself as being both post and modern with tracks that touch upon the Rolling Stones sound (“Guiding Light”) while displaying the kind of direction and template that Gang Of Four would eventually become renowned for (“Elevation”).

The album serves host to two singles with the title track having been the first and “Prove It” following as a second.  Here was the band exhibiting intense and aggressive gestures via one of their longest standing compositions.  There is a stark nonchalance at play as the song actually begins to resemble “Stand By Me” until after much gesticulation from Verlaine he ends things on the words “this case is closed.”

It all ends appropriately with “Torn Curtain” and a theatrical workout, which actually would not feel out of place in a Hitchcock universe.  The song serves as a suitable outro although there is much argument that it drags but that’s fine when closing an album.  Kicking off after a jazz like drumroll, in come foreign keys followed by an almost Pink Floyd-esqe guitar part as slowly the song grows in a stabbing/lurching manner, seemingly in nostalgic fashion for Verlaine.  Then as the guitar screams like a drowning cat there is suggestion to “burn it down”, to wreck was just accomplished.  And in many ways that is ultimately what happened.

Then they are gone.

This is how you win at art rock.

Thesaurus moment:

Tuesday, 13 May 2008



I was so excited when I bought this CD single.  CD singles of Metallica were pretty rare in Clacton back in the day.  And I would imagine they’re pretty hard to find there now.  Still I should not discard or cheapen the energetic excitement it gave me in my youth.  These were important objects, important pieces that held great value for a person feeling isolated and alone in a small town in Essex near the coast.

That said Metallica never really quite did it for me.  Obviously they have great songs but their legacy and reputation just does not coincide with their output.  They were supposed to be the heaviest, most dangerous rock act on earth but there was just too much denim attached to their being (if you know what I mean).

Today I find myself actually wiping dust off this CD.  I have no idea when was the last time I played this disc.  I might even be as long as fifteen years ago and a time when I was a much different person, probably nicer but very mixed up with it.

“Nothing Else Matters” was a special song for Metallica.  It was them displaying a tender side, their ability to mix things up and provide an emotion flavour and depth.  If nothing else this was bound to get them airplay and airtime without necessarily losing face.

Lyrically the song is whimsical to a fault.  This was the era of Wayne’s World so metal was accepted by the mainstream but equally sneered at too.  Do you remember how “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright offered respite in that movie and its soundtrack?  This song/single served similar function.  Equally it is a song you could envisage Spinal Tap doing, not least in the Tolkien-esqe line “trust I seek and I find in you.”

Inevitably a guitar solo eventually turns up by which point it has been intended that the listener is looking towards the stars and this is a final throw to send the spectacular hurtling further into space.  However it is tough to imagine a casual observer being so wrapped up to this degree.  Could a normal person really be so sold?

The photo of the band that accompanies this release is one of pure metal excess.  It was already aged as the band were still to sort themselves out visually.  Also they look so young and gaudy, especially Kirk Hammett.  The others just smell of denim.  Forgive me my eternal suspicion of this band and how I never dove into them full footed.  This was definitely a band for the committed.  And by that I mean my friends.

A bonus on the CD was the live version of “Enter Sandman” serving as a b-side.  I had missed the boat on that song first time round so here was a great version to own including the sound of pyrotechnics.  If the sedation of the lead was scaring me off then certainly the chugging energy of this track was scaring me in.

Then came another live track in the form of “Harvester Of Sorrow” (from And Justice For All) which was another lumbering piece of metal which comes complete with mid song breakdown and the sound of James Hetfield gobbing loudly onstage.  Only hard men of rock did this.  It seemed/felt godlike.

Closing the release was the curious demo version of “Nothing Else Matters”.  To this date I had never been exposed to the concept of demo versions (not even by Nirvana) so to suddenly be faced with this incomplete version of the song including Hetfield humming instead of singing felt as if the band were being exposed and the listener sold short.  Regardless as with all demo versions it is interesting to hear if not illuminating.

Still it’s better than “More Than Words” by Extreme, that other example from era of metal turning fanny.

Thesaurus moment: assay.

Monday, 12 May 2008



Not the most obvious of songs from Dig Lazarus Dig to be released as a single and at £4.99 this is a pretty bog standard seven inch for a such a price purchased new (and not collector).

Situated as something of an outro song, this song is a breeze, a grand description of a failed woo. There is a definite degree of persistence attached to the continued efforts and shattered groove.

You can hear/tell that the band is having fun as they downright sound like the Velvet Underground on a sunny day. The devil may care atmosphere and attitude applied to this song comes with a genuine sense of mischief that is infectious in a way that only the most accomplished of individuals are able mutter.

The sound of resignation to contentment, with a very mature feeling this song causes me to look up from what I am doing and smile.

This is the kind of song you have stuck in your head as you walk home in a happy haze having pulled and scored.

Elsewhere the song is accompanied by “Fleeting Love” a downbeat, almost country piano led track that crashes with an “In The Ghetto” crossed with Harold And Maude era Cat Stevens vibe.

Thesaurus moment: win.

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

Saturday, 10 May 2008



Urge Overkill was always a niche band from Chicago.  In the music papers they were namechecked by those in the know but seldom was anyone casually into them.  We knew what they looked like but not necessarily what they sounded like.

Stull is the six song EP released in 1992 which was reportedly found in a Dutch record shop by Quentin Tarantino one day and being the original home to their cover of Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” it would have been the first place he heard the track ahead of including it in a pivotal scene in Pulp Fiction.  It was a very strong selection to cover exhibiting both a telling message in the lyrics and a huge vocal delivery demanded in order to command the punch Diamond constructed.  And the band pulls it off to amazing ends.

Picking up the charge the second track “Stull (Part 1)” is equally cool offering a dragged out and measured approach to proceedings solidifying their search for soul and solid ability to attain it.  The journey is a good one, a safe five minute drive of definition and reassurance.  There is courtesy in refinement.

The process steps up with “Stitches” and a near punk track along lines of The Clash/Rancid that expresses the desire to “kill somebody just for fun” while namechecking both the Manson Family and the Son Of Sam killer.  This I am informed is their take on “Stitches In My Head/I Wanna Kill Somebody” originally by The Alan Milman Sect.

“What’s This Generation” begins with what has come to be the trademark drum sound of Steve Albini and Electrical Audio although it comes as quite some surprise to discover that it actually is not one of his recording jobs.  This band learns well even if this is a scratchy mess of a track coupled with a horrible fade out at the close.

Another single appears in the form of “(Now That’s) The Barclord” which was previously a Sub Pop Singles Club release.  Sounding like an Elvis Costello track it is a solid new wave work out exhibiting gestures towards better taste.

It all ends with “Goodbye To Guyville” which was a concept borrowed/adopted by Liz Phair whose debut album was called Exile In Guyville.  It’s a swift, slick and breezy strain.  Smooth, introspective and slow moving it is very Afghan Whigs in execution.

This is the sound of getting what you want.

Thesaurus moment: luxury.

Friday, 9 May 2008



The second album released by Tindersticks in 1995 conveniently shares the same name as their first: Tindersticks.  Self titled albums tend not to be for the adventurous but to do it twice is just downright lazy.  Tindersticks however have always had better things to occupy their mind/attention than such trivial detail.

I wouldn’t surprise me if this band were carrying a curse.  They originate from Nottingham for fucks sake.  That is not a place that produces happy.  From my experience it is all condensed crime and alcoholic adventures.

Tindersticks is a scorching act.  There is a stillness and devastation to their being.  In orchestration they are quite similar to the Bad Seeds but in execution they are more tender, more giving and more forgiving.  Their tracks tend to glisten rather than dismay.  This is music you can have sex to.  And certain friends of mine have confided to doing just that.

This sixteen song monster of an album was recorded in Cologne on the tip off from Blixa Bargeld when the band was on tour with Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds.  While not sounding explicitly German in influence or direction (save for the broken Krautrock of “Vertrauen II”), there is something expansive and cinematic in the way that it plays out as lush strings cradle and layer tethered emotions staggering through tough times.  On that note the strings were recorded at Abbey Road under the influence of Terry Edwards from Gallon Drunk and others.  There is limited wish fulfilment here.

Housed on this album is “Travelling Light” which is probably as close to a hit song the band has ever come.  Featuring Carla from The Walkabouts there is a slow build caress serviced by emotive strings and the kind of dropping hook smart suited men pay millions for.  As the two luxurious voices exchange remarks and passages the song comes to represent a frenetic relationship that is hyper in process if not progress.  Here is a love engaged if not supreme.  You want it to work out but common sense suggests it won’t.

A second heavyweight track exists in the form of “Tiny Tears” which with time has come to hold grand notoriety for appearing the Isabella episode of The Sopranos.  Someone at HBO likes Tindersticks.  And now due to the context it was used in it has come to represent very much an audible embodiment of depression caused by the end of an era and moment.

On a similar level “Seaweed” brings home a heavy dose of tired and emotional expenditure as this is then soon followed by the dramatic strings and requesting remorse of “Talk To Me”.  The sweeps suggested here should be enough to take anyone off their feet as he persuasion picks up powerful passion the further it runs through until hitting a majestic termination in an almost Bernard Herrmann Psycho string fashion.

This is very much a record written in past tense.  Pensive, pulsing and noir the dense composition of tracks and heavy instrumentation bring home the emotional impact of the moment.  By the end of lead track “El Diablo En El Ojo” the listener is drowning in string while second track “A Night In” thrives on a busy baseline adding an element of tense suspicion while Staples empathises “I know you’re hurting but I can’t be there no more”.

With “My Sister” the album takes a new direction with a lengthy spoken narrative akin to Arab Strap or Dexys Midnight Runners.  By this stage it has been established that man of these songs are to be brutal in length as the listener is offered a velvety lush lounge experience via fond recollection.  This is a method later engaged during the confused outset/aftermath description of “Cherry Blossoms”.

And you know you are listening to a special record when you are struggling to work out whether you are hearing a saw or a Theremin at play such as on “Vertrauen III”.

The one bum note occurs on “No More Affairs” which sounds suspiciously like “Perfect Day” by Lou Reed.  This is a record better than that.

Eventually the final big track arrives in the form of “She’s Gone” which arrives as another nostalgic moment of remorse detailing broken dreams.  Then follows appropriately a track entitled “Mistakes” before it all ends with “Sleepy Song” and passing out.

In many ways I remain clinging to the admission from my friend that he fucks his girlfriend to this music.  It speaks volumes about both the power of the music and his personality, his emotional state.  How does the star of this/that show view themselves?  Pray tell.

This is a positively morose record for strong moments.  It will age and mature you.

Thesaurus moment: fledged.

Monday, 5 May 2008



Mike Ladd is a slick act in hip-hop.  There is something about his polished product that comes with the air of a fresh Apple item.  And that’s not intended as an insult.  This is your normal hectic hip-hop album, it is a heavily work emerging from a vast library of memories and sounds.  It’s a colourful patchwork offering succulent solution to temporary woe.

Downtempo in design, Nostalgialator is often a bombastic album filled with all kinds of heavy swag horn samples that feel plucked straight from a Lalo Schifrin chase scene.  There are no cuffs involved just a serious sense of sensual victory attached to so much win.

Originally from Boston, Ladd is a man of the world.  There is true maturity in his sound, one where the construct more represents a desire to groove than grapple.  The songs are intricately woven and display a vast knowledge of music and a wide appreciation in taste.  Rubbing shoulders with the Def Jux crew felt almost inevitable.

It doesn’t take long for things to burst into greatness as the bounding goodness of “Trouble Shot” with its smooth Curtis Mayfield gone hip-hop delivery coupled with funky bursts and huge hooks.  There is a groove attached to this feeling that holds both anticipation and pay off.  Later on “Learn To Fell” returns to Mayfield like motions now in a computerised fashion.

Things remain fun as “Housewives At Play” offers nice hype in smooth execution in its playful premise which reminds of Money Mark at his most plugged in.

All in all Nostalgialator is an album that swings between extremes as laidback riffs couple with more raucous items such as the heavy bounce of “Black Orientalist” and the outright hardcore punk of “Wild Out Day”.  Then both elements collide on the call back that is “Afrotastic”.

“Off To Mars” takes the album to a great place.  It makes me think of a missed one, a loved one, an absent opportunity.  With this song behind me I feel I could step right back into a life and turn it into soul.  It makes me want to fuck.  Dusty futuristic jazz will always have such an affect.

The blissed out poetry of “How Electricity Really Works” takes the album to another place with an Amiri Baraka vibe and finger pointing factor.  This is optimum literature, Gil-Scott Heron had he not broke.

Something was really accomplished with this record.

Thesaurus moment: deliberate.

Sunday, 4 May 2008



Making weird sounds and noises over guitar music appears to be very in vogue at the moment, the kind of bonkers trick and tactic to be (that is) employed when one wants to sound as if from the cool part of the eighties.

I have a lot of time for Twisted Charm, I genuinely thought “London Scene” was very inventive, well observed and astute; easily one of my favourite songs of the year when it was released. Such strong beginnings do not appear to be maintaining although an opening line of “I’m drowning in cynicism” suggests all has not been lost.

With what is in essence a song about being asked to be taken to the pictures, I swear the drawing of the cinema on the cover of the single that of the Coronet in Notting Hill although I am sure time will prove me wrong but for now let me dream a dream coupled with hoping for another strong song soon in which saxophones return from this most potential of propositions.

A quick flip to the b-side and the strongly titled “Whore” is more in the range of what I was hoping for, a nasty sounding lo-fi snarl with saxophone blasts and a guitar line that makes me question whether I am playing the single at the correct speed on my stereo. With its snappy tone and intentions for me this would have made a much better and more appropriate single.

Be my whore.

Thesaurus moment: please.

Twisted Charm
Because Music

Saturday, 3 May 2008



This was the EP that Robert Diggs released in July 1991 ahead of eventually being known worldwide as RZA.  At this point he was already steering and driving his career working on production as well as rap duties even if it wasn’t necessarily in the direction he was destined.

All in all this record is scrappy and light.  At this risk of ruffling feathers there is something cartoonish about it.  Then again KMD used to sport cartoon covers, albeit very explicit and controversial illustrations.  Ultimately there was just too much smile.

Exhibiting eight tracks drawn from three songs this was a pop record coasting with a most cringing female hook announcing the sentiments of the release’s title.  This was grossly misappropriated ego move exhibiting the dumbest of gestures with no explicit meaning.  “Ooh I Love You Rakeem” is not necessarily sexist or misogynist but isn’t equal opportunity either.

It is interesting to listen to the instrumental version of the lead track.  While the beats are not necessarily hard and the hook is embarrassing the striding motion of the beat does definitely point to what was to come not least in its similarity to how his production on Liquid Swords would later sound.

Co-produced by Easy Mo Bee, who also worked on the first GZA release Words From The Genius, you clearly feel his style of combining heavy beats with jazz insertions.

Superior to the lead track, “Deadly Venoms” rolls at a more fluid pace with stream of consciousness flow as the hooks lie within the beats signalling the moments allotted for catching your breath.  It’s a weird boast, at this stage his “venom” hardly feels deadly.

Closing out the release are multiple versions of “Sexcapades” and the description of more juvenile capers.  Once again the pace does pick up but impact drops with its goofy brags and repetition.  A line such as “what time is it?  Its time to get laid” is never really going to endear a serious observer.  The second version of the track is notable for being the “Wutang Mix” as the drum beats do taste slightly darker that couple with a guitar sample that make things sound subtly rougher.  Unfortunately the silly sentiments remain rubbishing all efforts.

All in all this weird, like looking at the silly hairstyle adorning a school photo.  It’s a record guilty by future association.  This need not exist.

Thesaurus moment: awkward.